BL Workshop

How to build an igloo

The best-known snow shelter is the igloo. A brilliant use of engineering and resources, this simple dome made out of snow blocks is both strong and versatile.


Arctic cultures such as the Eskimo and the Inuit developed it, and over time they came up with a hundred tricks to make the shelter more comfortable and sturdy, including making the entrance small (to help keep heat in) and melting the inside of the dome and letting it refreeze (for increased strength).

The earliest reference of igloo use came from the Vikings, who settled parts of Greenland and explored the eastern Canadian coast about a thousand years ago. They found natives living in igloos, but didn’t use them themselves because they considered the technology inferior.

History has proven otherwise, as the Vikings lasted for only about four centuries in the harsh climate of Greenland, while the native peoples are still carving igloos from the landscape today. Six hundred years after the tough Vikings were defeated by the tougher weather of the Little Ice Age, Boy Scouts still use the design of the igloo to keep warm.


igloo1Diameter: Not to exceed 10 feet. Anything bigger would require a perfect dome, which is next to impossible to construct in the field.

igloo2Materials: Top layers of dry powder won’t work. Pack mounds of snow until they harden, or cut blocks of snow from the depth where your feet stop sinking.

igloo3Entrance: Build a door in the ground, about 18 inches lower than the ground inside the igloo, and tunnel below the wall into the igloo. For proper ventilation, never seal or close the entrance.

igloo4Walls: Cut the blocks into a spiral layer, leaning one block against the next. Keep the interior wall smooth so moisture can run down the side of the wall, instead of dripping from the ceiling. Include a vent hole to allow for better circulation.


Comments about “How to build an igloo”

  1. mr.joe says:


  2. BOb says:

    This is awsome it works

  3. braydog says:

    it works

  4. Oman says:

    I can’t wait to make one….

  5. scoutsislife says:

    why is the first layer start out with a slant i know it makes the other layers spiral. why does the spiral help with the moisture

  6. rocketman says:

    awesome, just plain awesome!!!!

  7. iball says:

    i love it

  8. Kyguy says:

    This Igloo Rocks!

  9. wgd says:

    no snow here! but cool…

  10. MR.T says:

    We no have no more snow in NC.

  11. ninersfannatic says:

    lots of snow in colorado today! I’ll give it a shot cause it’s that wet heavy snow

  12. g dog says:

    me and my friend are going to try these in canada

  13. csdietz says:

    I think it is Relly cool!

  14. frank says:

    it makes a good clubhouse to hide ur stuf in

  15. Rm31 says:

    the snow already melted here in alpine NY

  16. smartkid says:

    This Really doesn’t work I tried it the sides were not next to eachother it looked terrible.

  17. jojo says:

    sweet info

  18. weirdcollector says:

    i’m going to use this for a school project. thanks Boy’s Life!

  19. mr.mark says:

    wear some warm gloves and be safe

  20. pete says:

    to bild a igloo you need to have thick snow to bild a igloo. have good luck

  21. Jriff says:

    I want to try but my sister has to make a snow man SO I’ll get up eary.

  22. bobby says:

    we never get snow in hawaii!!!

  23. gggg says:

    if only texas got snow…

  24. joe says:

    i want snow

  25. Bob Cat says:

    First i need a lot of snow that is only if there is a snow storm in Ohio.

  26. pee wee says:

    It worked great, the under ground door was so cool, i even made some
    shelfs because i made my snow wall, brick things a foot thick

  27. pablo says:

    It just snowed again and we already have tons of snow. We’re going to try this in a week or two.

  28. andrew says:

    im just need to finnish the top

  29. mo says:

    wish i lived were there was snow

  30. someone says:

    I am making a igloo right now outside because in minnesota we are getting a snowstorm right now.

  31. Skier says:

    I live in MN we get tons of snow tough night we are supposed to get 6-8 inches of snow 4 days ago we got 6 inches this will work great

  32. Joshy says:

    I made one of ice last year.

  33. j says:

    i wish that my troup could do that

  34. Ericbu12 says:

    if you get 2-4″ of snow.. snow blow all the snow to a 15′ x 15′ area.. you should have about 3′ of snow then.. pack this down and lightly mist with water.. let this freeze a few hours… Then cut the blocks to build using the snow from the inside of the igloo

  35. joshua103 says:

    I do not get much snow where i live but i’ll try it!

  36. sk8r boi says:

    this looks so cool. we don’t have any snow in pennsylvania rite now though

  37. scuba dude 642 says:

    bummer, this will never work in houston! last time we had snow was 2 years ago and it only stayed on cars!

  38. zog says:

    That looks cool! I’ll have to try it later.

  39. JT says:

    I don’t have anymore snow outside.

  40. camper man says:

    my snow JUST meted!!!!!!

  41. legomaster says:


  42. awesome says:

    i’ll try this someday but too bad i live in a part of Pennsylvania where i almost get no perfect snowstorms

  43. SEal says:

    thats wikid

  44. zach says:

    i tried this too and cant make one because there is not a very deep depth of snow

  45. zach says:

    also are there instructions 4 building a igloo with a above ground door

  46. juytr says:

    hi this is so cool

  47. legolover says:

    it works!

Write a comment about “How to build an igloo”


Type your comment: